Fairfax County Jury Sides with Johnny Depp — After a weeks-long trial, actor Johnny Depp was awarded more than $10 million in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, a verdict that has already taken a toll on domestic violence survivors. Heard was also awarded $2 million for a countersuit over comments by Depp’s lawyer. [Associated Press/WTOP]
Calm Returns to Fairfax County Courthouse After High-Profile Trial — “Two hours after the verdict in the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial was announced, the grounds outside the Fairfax County Courthouse had the aura of a field where a circus had just packed up its tent and moved on.” [Patch]
Woodson HS Apologizes for Teacher’s Use of Slur — “An official at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax has apologized for a substitute teacher uttering a racial slur during an in-class reading of John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ last month…A student notified [assistant principal Amanda] Burke that a classmate had recorded a video of the substitute saying the racial slur and shared it on social media.” [Patch]
Firefighters and Police Rescue Red-Tailed Hawk — “#FCFRD & @FairfaxCountyPD Animal Protection, rescued a Red-Tailed Hawk during special ops training. Crews worked together to disentangled it with special equipment. He appears healthy but will get a check-up. Retrieve kite strings & fishing line! Birds can’t see them.” [FCFRD/Twitter]
Popular Lincolnia Pet Store to Downsize — “Chico’s Natural Pet Market invites the community to a fun event Sunday, June 5, featuring an animal communicator and an auction…Owner Danielle Areco will update customers on the store’s pending move to a new location and will describe the store’s new focus on healthy pet food.” [Annandale Today]
Tysons Real Estate Company Plans Move — “Real estate giant CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBRE) will move its Tysons office, which houses its Northern Virginia operation, a stone’s throw up the road in early 2023, having already inked a new lease. CBRE will occupy a little over 24,000 square feet, or the whole 11th floor, of Boro Tower, a 20-story office building located at 8350 Broad St.” [Washington Business Journal]
General Assembly Passes State Budget — “The Virginia General Assembly passed a two-year state budget Wednesday that both cuts taxes and increases spending, a rare combination that drew extensive bipartisan support in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Delegates.” [The Washington Post]
Former Vienna Town Manager Dies — “John Schoeberlein, who served as Vienna’s steady-as-you-go town manager for 26 years before retiring in May 2011, died May 30 at age 74…Schoeberlein was a respected leader and well-liked by town residents and staff, said Bill Murray, a retired master police officer with the Vienna Police Department.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Local Farmers Markets Accept Food Benefits — “Four Fairfax County Farmers Markets offer a [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance] Matching Program where you can double your SNAP Benefits…You can use your EBT card in the McCutcheon/Mount Vernon, Annandale, Reston and Lorton Farmers Markets.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Park Authority Supports Annandale Vandal — “A bit of mischief was celebrated at Hidden Oaks Nature Center as a clever vandal slipped into the Annandale Community Park playground area and switched a couple of letters on the fencing spelling ‘I [heart] Mom.’ This sweet sign is a salute to all the moms who take their kids to our parks!” [FCPA/Facebook]
It’s Thursday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 82 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
Crews are planning to demolish a building on the campus of W.T. Woodson High School that was engulfed by flames earlier this year.
An hours-long fire consumed an administrative building facing Main Street in the early morning hours of Jan. 30. Part of the roof and an external wall collapsed, WTOP previously reported.
A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools said the damage was “beyond repair” during the fire.
There is no word yet on what’s in store for the site once it is demolished. It’s unclear when demolition will begin, although county permits were processed in March.
“Plans will be submitted if there is to be a rebuild,” FCPS spokesperson Julie Moult wrote in a statement.
Fire investigators did not conclusively determine what caused the fire, which was accidental in nature and started in an office. The fire caused roughly $8.8 million in damages.
The building was used for ground maintenance and operations support, a locksmith, stock room, offices, a break room, and storage.
Houston is the place to be this week for the robotics community, and several Fairfax County students scored exclusive invitations.
Fairfax County Public Schools has three teams in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championships, which kicked off today (Wednesday) at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
The annual event caps off months of work and competitions for high school students around the world who have designed, programmed and built industrial-sized robots that face off in sports-like games.
Representing Fairfax County among the 454 teams that qualified for the championships — most of them from the U.S. — are James Madison High School’s Warbots, the CAVEBOTICS from Woodson High School, and Oakton Cougar Robotics.
— Fairfax Schools 🌟 (@fcpsnews) April 20, 2022
Madison and Oakton have both participated in FIRST Robotics Competitions since 2001, but for the Vienna school, this year marks its first trip to the championships after the Warbots won the school’s first-ever district title on April 9, according to FCPS.
FCPS is part of the Chesapeake District, which includes teams from Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and West Virginia.
Oakton Cougar Robotics previously made the championships in 2016.
Woodson’s CAVEBOTICS are relatively new to the scene. The Fairfax-based school added the team to its cybersecurity and robotics club last year, and it has already grown to over 50 students, according to a Gofundme fundraiser that the team started to support its activities.
With robots costing $6,000 to $12,000 a year to build, fundraising is among the many skills that students learn from the FIRST competitions, along with welding, coding, engineering, and project management, Madison High School said in its post on the Warbots.
A nonprofit founded in 1989, FIRST aims to support science, technology, engineering, and math education through school-based robotics programs for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
The championship will culminate with awards on Saturday (April 23). All of the contests and challenges, along with the closing ceremony, are being livestreamed on Twitch.